Wednesday, December 5

Gone Home Review

Available on: PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Price: £14.99 on Steam and £15.99 on Console ($21,$23 USD)
I played on: PS4
Notes: N/A

Gone Home is a narrative driven game and focuses more on telling a story than fast-paced platforming or combat. The game involves you returning to your family home after visiting Europe for a year to find an empty house and a strange note from your sister. Gone Home’s main goal is to uncover what has happened while you were away via exploration of the empty house.

I love this game because of the way you feel so involved in the world around you. You can tell you are part of the story being told here just through little touches like your name on trophies, photos of you and other things you would find in a family home. The level of involvement afforded to you offers a simple but effective connection to the characters in this story. Gone Home also has an amazing amount of attention to detail that makes it easy to get absorbed into the world around you. Little touches like each and every lamp having a power cord that connects to a socket in the wall really help flush out this rather simple setting.

The sound design stands out, with the original soundtrack being used well to stir emotion and the licensed tracks helping sell the era this game is set. I have discovered 90’s band Bratmobile thanks to Gone Home and have fallen in love with their song ‘Cool Schmool’. The voice acting included in answer phone messages and the reading of a journal carry so much emotion as well. I have been moved by the way this game uses its combination of amazing voice acting and an original score to tell a beautiful story. Sarah Grayson who plays your sister delivers some of the most believable voice acting I have heard in a video game in quite some time.

Gone Home offers a fantastic amount of options and mods which is a little touch that means a lot to a game, one that so many games forget. The field of view on a console game is amazing and wonderful to see included here. The option to have text overlay letters found in the game helps with some of the handwriting within the family home and I turned this on for my second play-through. The last thing here I want to mention is the developer commentary which I took so much delight in, I honestly wish more games had an interactive commentary option like Gone Home does.

Walking is a nice pace when moving around a family home but even in real life if I forget something I left upstairs I will run up to get it so why can’t I in Gone Home? I know this point seems silly but during my first play-through when I was still unsure of my direction it would have been nice to be able to move a bit faster. I just find for a game with so much freedom and options available to the player it’s strange to be forced into walking everywhere.

I have just spent half an hour exploring this game again trying to find negative things to talk about here, I have only come up with nitpicks. The fact that this rather large American family house has no mirrors in it is a little bit concerning. Honestly I didn’t notice this first, second and only on my third play-through so it’s not a massive issue at all. Other than the lack of mirrors the only other thing I have to mention here is the repeated models used over the house. This family sure does own a lot of paper folders with only one document in each of them as well as empty 3-ring binders.

I love Gone Home and although it was short I got plenty of replay value with the mods and options in the game so didn’t feel it was too short. I love the setting, the story and the wonderful feeling this game has, it’s hard to say but when I put this game on now it feels like a home I belong in. I have heard this game get flack for not being a traditional game. I find that claim silly because it delivers an experience other media such as books or films are unable to and that’s what makes games amazing. Gaming for me is very much about not just showing you a world but letting you explore that world and Gone Home is one of the best games for this I have found. I have to give Gone Home a 9 out of 10, this game is amazing with only the most minor of problems.

Recommendation Rating: 9 out of 10

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